Matt Price: As Seen on CCTV | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Matt Price: As Seen on CCTV

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

The latest of Matt Price’s affecting stories about extreme situations concerns the time a notorious London gangster threatened to have him killed.

It seems unlikely that this generous-hearted bear of a comedian would ever ​rub anyone up the wrong way, let alone get involved in the criminal underworld. But there’s more to him than meets the eye, just as there is more to this yarn that first appears.

Anyone who’s seen his previous shows may know that Price conducted a series of interviews with hardened criminals to understand the mindset after his partner, fellow comedian Martha McBrier, was savagely attacked by a drug dealer in her own home. It was his reckless naivety in his encounter with one of these dangerous men that led to the death threat.

Having a bit of prior knowledge of some of the grim landmarks in his life would be useful as he tends to skip over some of the key details here. Withholding information is crucial for storytelling, but Price leaves the audience to fill in a bit too much, so the narrative thread and the emotional journey isn’t always signposted clearly enough for maximum impact.

He uses a session with a life coach, gifted to him with an ulterior motive, as a framework for this story, her go-getting ‘winning is everything’ approach anathema to his more easy-going personality. Price may have a lugubrious, hangdog impression, but he’s a personable presence, warmly welcoming everybody as they file into his venue and often performing off-mic in the aisle to build a stronger connection with the audience.

The show has its lighter moments, playing up the rivalry between Devon and his native Cornwall or him not having a great time at a heavy-metal gig he accidentally found himself at. The story of Annabel Chong, who holds the world record for the biggest gang-bang, is shoehorned into the narrative, rather too casually given how much baggage needs to be unpacked around such a dubious achievement.

But Price is such a warm and engaging presence you can understand why even criminal hardcases would like to spend time with him.

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Review date: 15 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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